Argentina get Super boost
Argentina get Super boostSHARE
Super Rugby will be expanded to at least 17 teams, probably 18, in 2016 – with Argentina getting one of the additional slots.
The expansion was approved at a meeting of SANZAR's Executive Committee in Sydney on Thursday.
The meeting was described as "another important step in deciding the future of Super Rugby".
"Encouraging progress was made and we now have a preferred model," SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said.
The new model involves six teams from South Africa and a new team from Argentina.
However, the SANZAR boss would not elaborate on the final number of teams in the expanded competition from 2016 onwards.
"The model will now be taken to the national unions for approval, before SANZAR presents its final position to broadcasters and fans in due course," Peters said in a statement.
Asked if the number of teams will go beyond 17, to perhaps 18 as was previously proposed, and if the new model makes provision for a change to the current three-conference system, Peters told this website that he can't go into that type of detail at this stage.
It has been proposed that SANZAR move away from the huge number of local derbies that mark the current three-conference system, with a two-conference system one of the favoured formats.
It was suggested that the Australasian teams form one conference, while teams from South Africa and Argentina form another conference.
There is then expected to be cross-conference play-offs.
The drive to move away from the current 15-team format and extend the tournament beyond its current borders in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa comes in the wake of evidence that show fan support for the championships is ebbing.
Peters told this website that he hopes to finalise the process "within the next month or so".
By Jan de Koning